the world digest


In high-definition

TORONTO — Discovery Channel Canada has inked a multiyear first-look deal for high-definition programming with Japanese broadcaster NHK. Discovery said that the program license agreement with Media International Corp., NHK's distribution arm, will grant it first-look access to the Japanese broadcaster's library of HD programming. As part of the agreement, Discovery Channel will acquire at least 20 hours of HD programming from the NHK catalog in the first year, and 25 in the second and third. The first titles acquired include "Monster of the Sea" and "The Mysterious Black Rabbits."

Upward mobility

PARIS — France will have more than 5 million mobile television subscribers by the end of 2012, according to a new report. Digital media analysis consultancy NPA Conseil forecasts that subscriptions to mobile TV, due to launch next summer in France, will be fewer than 1 million by the end of 2009, but will rise sharply in the next three years. The Conseil Superieur de l'Audiovisuel, France's broadcasting regulator, called for tenders from potential mobile broadcasters earlier this month. Applications must be in by Jan. 15.

Animated Miike

TOKYO — Takashi Miike will direct the live-action version of animated series "Yatterman," Nikkatsu Corp. said Monday. Sakurai Sho, 25, has been chosen to play the lead role of Takada Gan, also known as Yatterman No. 1. The project has a budget of ¥2 billion ($18.7 million) and is being targed for a release in February 2009. The original series was hugely popular in Japan when it first screened on Saturday evenings between 1977 and 1979. Nippon Television Network is planning to re-broadcast the shows beginning in January as part of the promotion for the film.